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|Other names||High Priestess of Blood|
|Criminal penalty||50 years in prison|
Magdalena Solís, also known as the High Priestess of Blood, was a serial killer and member of a Mexican cult responsible for orchestrating several murders which involved the drinking of the victims' blood. She was convicted of two of the murders and sentenced to 50 years in prison.
Magdalena Solís came from a poverty-stricken dysfunctional family, and entered into prostitution at a young age—an occupation in which she worked until she became involved with the Hernandez Brothers in 1963. Her brother, Eleazar Solís, acted as her pimp during this time.
The Hernandez Brothers' cult
In late 1962 and early 1963, brothers Santos and Cayetano Hernandez, a pair of petty criminals, reached the small town of Yerba Buena, a small community near the city of Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, Mexico. As part of a scam, the brothers told the impoverished and mostly illiterate villagers that they were prophets of the "powerful and exiled Inca gods." The brothers demanded worship and tribute from the villagers in exchange for treasures hidden in the caves of the mountains surrounding the village.
Many of the inhabitants of Yerba Buena believed the brothers' claims of being Inca prophets, thus the brothers founded a relatively prosperous sect. In nearby caves, where Inca treasures were allegedly hidden, the brothers organized drug-fueled orgies and treated many villagers, both men and women, as sex slaves. However, the villagers began to grow impatient at not seeing their promised treasure.
Faced with possible exposure, the Hernandez brothers traveled to Monterrey in search of prostitutes who would take part in the farce. They eventually found Solís and her brother, who traveled back to Yerba Buena with them. During one of the cave rituals, using a smoke screen, the brothers introduced Solís as the reincarnation of an Inca goddess. Solís developed a severe religious delusion and took over the sect. Under her leadership, the rituals became more grisly and perverse as Solís became enamored of consuming blood and sadomasochism.
By the time Solís took over the cult, two members who had grown tired of the sexual abuse expressed a desire to leave the group. They were brought before Solís, who demanded that they be put to death. The two members were lynched by the terrified adherents.
After these first two murders, Solís' pathology evolved. Instead of simple orgies, she began to demand human sacrifices. She devised a "blood ritual" in which the sacrificed (typically a dissenter) was brutally beaten, burned, cut and maimed by all the members of the cult. Thereafter, blood-letting was practiced. The blood was deposited in a cup mixed with chicken blood, after which the victim was made to bleed to death. Animal sacrifices and the use of marijuana and peyote were also practiced in these rituals.
Solís drank from the chalice and had it passed around, first to the "high priests" — the Hernandez Brothers and Eleazar Solís — and finally the other members. The belief, based on elements of Aztec mythology, was that this gave them supernatural powers. Solís, supposedly the reincarnation of the Aztec goddess Coatlicue, claimed that she needed to drink blood to stay young forever.
The murders continued for six weeks in 1963, claiming four lives. By the time the final sacrifices took place, they reached the point of vivisecting the hearts of the victims.
In May 1963, a fourteen-year-old local resident named Sebastian Guerrero wandered near the caves where Solis' cult was performing their rites. Attracted by the lights and noises coming out of one of the caves, he witnessed one of the rites in progress. Guerrero ran over 25 km, from Yerba Buena to the nearest police station in the town of Villa Gran. The next morning, an investigator named Luis Martinez escorted Guerrero back to Yerba Buena. Guerrero took Martinez into the mountains to show him where he had seen the "vampires." Guerrero and Martinez were never seen alive again.
Arrest and sentencing
The police were initially skeptical of the cult claims, but became suspicious following the disappearances of Guerrero and Martinez. On May 31, 1963, policemen and soldiers from Ciudad Victoria were deployed to Yerba Buena. Magdalena and Eleazar Solís were arrested on a farm in the town, in possession of a considerable amount of marijuana. Santos Hernandez was shot by police while resisting arrest; his brother Cayetano was assassinated by one of the members of the sect, Jesus Rubio, who had previously wanted to gain the same rank as the high priests for protection.
In subsequent investigations, authorities found the mutilated bodies of Guerrero and Martinez near a farm where the Solís siblings were arrested. They then found the bodies, also dismembered, of the other six victims in the vicinity of the caves.
Magdalena and Eleazar Solís were each sentenced to fifty years in prison for the killings of Guerrero and Martinez. Authorities were unable to confirm their participation in the other six murders because all the cult members who were arrested refused to testify.
Many members of the cult were shot in a shootout with the police after barricading themselves in the caves. Those who were arrested were sentenced to thirty years in prison for six counts of murder in the form of "group or gang murder, or lynching." Their illiterate and pauperised condition served as mitigating factors. It was not until years later that some ex-cult members spoke about their experiences.
- Lane, Brian and Gregg, Wilfred: The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers (1992)
- Hendricks, George: Western Folklore, Vol. 23, No. 2 (Apr., 1964), pp. 124-124 (Published by: Western States Folklore Society)8